I watched the movie Race last weekend about the black runner, Jesse Owens, who ran in the 1936 Olympics to go on and win 4 gold medals for the USA.

1936 Nazi Germany, pre-WWII, was a place of intolerance and discrimination. We all know what happened to the Jews, Gypsy, homosexuals, and anyone who defied the Nazis – 6 million jews and 5 million non-Jews were systemically murdered.

In the movie the American Olympic committee had it’s own discrimination with some of its members – maybe not overtly but it was there. The sympathies between Avery Brundage and the Germans were subtle but there.

In order to get the support of the American Olympic committee for the 1936 Olympics hosted by Germany, the Germans “promised” the Americans that they will allow all athletes of all colour and creed the freedom to compete. So to the world the Nazis presented a ‘cleaned up’ version of what was going on however nothing changed. The Nazis continued to round up jews and transport them to the ghettos.

In the movie, the two Jewish American athletes were taken off the roster to compete in the 400 relay – why? simply because they were Jewish. Adolf Hitler greeted all athletes that won a gold, yet he was unavailable to meet with Jesse Owens, four times.

Even back in the USA where there was much celebration for his success, the Whitehouse did not acknowledge Jesse’s extraordinary contribution to the games on behalf of their country; not until 1990.

The Olympics is supposed to be a venue free of politics; allow the best amateur athletes in the world to compete against one another – void of intolerance,discrimination and manipulation.

The Olympics is completely political. We have drugs being taken by athletes, sometimes prescribed by their very coaches and country, in order to get the upper edge. In China and Rio de Janeiro, we were presented and are currently being presented with the same scenario that the Germans did – push the ‘bad stuff’ out of the way only to present the good stuff to the world. Today, as humans, it is time to acknowledge this truth.

Currently athletes are concerned about the contaminated waters, the slums ares still there but just being pushed back so you do not see it. What has changed?

Not much.

We talk about diversity and tolerance yet we just saw one of the worst massacres on US soil of a group of people – just because they are gay. Who knows if everyone in that club was gay. Likely not.

People can argue that is human nature. I disagree. We are too connected, too aware to use that argument. If we really want to embrace tolerance and diversity than we must across the board – religion, colour, creed. Again, I must state this clearly, radicalism, religious persecution and manipulation of a text does not in my books equate to tolerance or understanding. The man who killed all of this innocent people at Pulse came from hatred.

I sound angry. I am more tired. I am tired of hearing peoples’ excuses of why they can arbitrarily destroy ones life because of their own insecurities, issues, beliefs. Corporations are not off the hook. I heard this morning that a lawyer wrote a letter years ago to Disney to tell them that his son was nearly attacked by an alligator in Orlando and that they need to make the public more aware of this concern. Disney fluffed it off and now today a 2 year old is dead.

I pray that love prevails and that we find goodness as human beings. Of course, there may or will always be people who are evil, want to hurt or destroy. Eventually, I hope, they will be left as few or standing alone.

Maybe this weekend take some time to think about some of your limiting beliefs and how you can shift them. Or find a way to be in your belief knowing that it is only that, your belief.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend and father’s day on Sunday. Cherish these moments!

All my love,

Sandra

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I want to share an article from the website: www.charityvillage.com

By Mitchell Stephenson
December 19, 2011

Question on an interview: Q & A

I have an interview coming up at a nonprofit and wanted to know about appropriate interview attire. I haven’t worked in the nonprofit sector so I wasn’t sure what rules apply.
The importance of image

It cannot be stressed enough how important image is to the hiring process. Although many of us feel it’s unfair to judge people based on their appearance, manner of attire, and general demeanor, the reality is that we all do it since it forms a large part of the input we use to form our decisions on people. Whether you are interviewing for a role at a nonprofit, a for-profit corporation, or even the circus for that matter, the key is to live up to other people’s expectations of us. If you have a plumbing problem at home, for example, and one of the plumbers shows up in a well-pressed Tuxedo – while impressive, would that indicate to you the message “I’m ready to dig in and get dirty” in order to solve your plumbing problem?

Dress for success

While it can be more difficult in these days of uncertain dress rules concerning normal business attire, there are still some general rules of dress that should be followed. For both men and women, it is always better to err on the side of being seen as appearing too dressed-up or conservative than being perceived as being too casual. For the interview, try to always dress one level above what you’ve been told the office dress code is: If it is business attire, be as formal as you can, if it is business casual, stay at the formal business level, and if it is casual, dress at a business casual level. Jeans, shorts, halter-tops, T-shirts, running shoes, and other casual wear should always be avoided for the vast majority of opportunities that most of us would face. If you are unsure of the standard dress code, call up and ask someone who works there.

Formal business attire

For men:
Usually, men can’t go wrong with a two-piece suit, either single or double-breasted, in blue or grey. A 100% cotton shirt is also appropriate, preferably white, a neutral beige or blue pastel. A tie with colours that complement the colours in the suit and shirt, and black dress shoes (clean and polished) complete the ensemble.

For women:

A skirt or pant suit in power colours, such as dark blues or even red project a very powerful professional leadership position. Complete the look with matching dress shoes (clean and polished), with heels no higher than two inches.

Informal business attire (“business casual”)

For men:
This attire is defined as consisting of dress pants, sports jacket, cotton shirt (white preferably, or a neutral beige or blue pastel), with optional tie. Black or brown dress shoes (clean and polished) complete the ensemble.

For women:

A skirt or pants paired with a blouse or sweater is a good combination. Complete the look with matching dress shoes (clean and polished), with heels no higher than two inches.

For both men and women in all situations, jewelry should be minimal and not distracting. Again, err on the side of conservative and wear less jewelry. Consider taking out any visible body piercing jewelry.

DRESS TIP: If you don’t feel that you need to change when you go home after the interview, you’re probably underdressed!

What else to bring: Accessories

A very important part of your image are your accessories. The interview is not a safari after all — you don’t need very much in order to survive for the next hour or so, and remember, the more you bring, the more you will have to pick up and keep track of. Too many accessories can be a source of real distraction for both you and the interviewer, and take away from your professional image. You have enough to think about already, and this is a business meeting after all.
Bring a portfolio or briefcase with three extra copies of your resume and two pens. Don’t forget your personal organizer or appointment book for arranging next interviews, if necessary. And have enough money to cover any incidental expenses such as parking.

For women, consider carefully whether you need to bring your purse at all to the meeting. If you do want to bring a purse, keep it small and presentable. You are trying to convey a professional, organized image, so fishing around for a pen in a sea of clutter doesn’t look good.

Good luck!

Mitchell Stephenson M.A., CPCC, is a senior partner and a certified professional career counsellor at Catalyst Careers, a career transition, counselling, and outplacement firm. Mitch has been involved in human resources, career counselling and coaching in the health and legal sectors for many years. To contact him, visit: www.catalystcareers.ca.

To submit a question for a future column, please email it to careercoach@charityvillage.com. No identifying information will appear in this column.

Disclaimer: Advice and recommendations are based on limited information provided and should be used as a guideline only. Neither the author nor CharityVillage.com make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability for accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided in whole or in part within this article.

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Retirement broken down into five phases

Posted Friday, March 2nd, 2012. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | Leave a Comment

This is an article that I read in the Financial Post section of the National Post, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, written by Jonathan Chevreau. He interviewed financial planner, Douglas Nelson who presents five phases of retirement in his book, Master Your Retirement<.em>, 2012 edition.

Here are the five phases:

Phase 1 – the seven – ten years preceding retirement.

Phase 2 – the critical first two years of actual retirement when a couple’s net worth is likely to be at its life-time peak.

Phase 3 – the active years. These are the years you get to enjoy retirement. He states they can last two years or twenty years but eventually you hit phase 4.

Phase 4 – Illness strikes (I do not necessarily agree that we will all get ill. Yes, aging does happen and things like memory loss and minor health issues arise — here is the greater need to take care of yourselves: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually). For some, yes, illness will strike.

Phase 5 – the death of one partner

Mr. Nelson says that the death of one partner, leaving the other partner alone, is when you need to start thinking about estate planning (or even before I say!) and readying the estate so that the children and other beneficiaries can make a smooth transition of assets after the death of the second parent.

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Passing Along Your Inheritance now

Posted Friday, February 24th, 2012. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | 2 Comments

Some of us grow up thinking “when our parents pass on I will be fine because I will be left enough money to survive”. This line of thinking is not only childish but it is incorrect.

I will admit that when I was younger I was one of those people. With maturity and awareness I now understand that this is not the case. First of all, I am totally responsible for my outcome, financially or otherwise. My parents have done their job, raising me and teaching me the life skills so I can make good decisions for me. I’ll admit, not everything passed on was good for me however I have taken control of my life and I can assess what is good for me. I have broken certain thought patterns around money and abundance and have a much better relationship with both. Secondly, as I have since discovered, in Canada you are not required to leave anything to your children. Therefore, my parents can decide to leave whatever assets they have to a charity, my other siblings or whatever. I know that this is not the case however it is the truth.

The other real issue surrounding inheritance is that because of the world state around money, investing, interest rates, return on investments, people today are needing more money to survive in their retirement years. I have never read so many articles on this topic. Forget about what they are leaving their children, parents today just want to make sure that they have enough money for themselves to live in the style that they have become accustomed.

If you have saved and invested well and do want to pass something on to your children it may be worth investigating, at least in Canada, passing on your inheritance now. I want to share an article on the topic of Inheritance written by Michael Nairne, National Post, Saturday, February 11, 2012. He says with the largest intergenerational transfer of inheritance pending (actually starting now) some wealthy have taken it a step further by not just investing in their RRSP (tax deferred income) and TFSA (tax-free growth), they have turned the annual ritual of RRSP and TFSA contributions into a family affair by gifting money to their adult children and even adult grandchildren so they can contribute to their own TFSAs and RRSPs.

Most wealthy families face hefty tax bills with bulk of assets held outside of registered plans. This leaves their wealth to be taxed at the highest marginal rate. Even conservative multi-millionaires with highly taxed fixed-income portfolios feel this pain as well.

What to do? When transferring our wealth through inheritance, Canada doesn’t have an estate tax per se, but there is generally a deemed disposition of capital property on death that gives rise to capital gains taxes. Transferring wealth to a spouse defers these taxes but eventually it will be paid. There is also the cost of probate taxes.

By gifting money to their adult children or grandchildren, which then can be used to fund their RRSP and TFSA contributions, affluent parents can address both tax issues. By increasing the family’s capital held in non-taxable and tax-deferred environments, they reduce the family’s overall income-tax bill. By moving assets into the next generation’s hands now, they are planning for the inevitable.

The hidden benefit is that these kids can use the money at a time when they are paying off school loans, saving for a house and starting their family and/or career. This gives them the opportunity to do that while also saving for their future. They do not have to by-pass this benefit because they now have the cash to do so. They also realize the compounding affect of interest over a longer period of time! If a child needs money lets say to buy a house, he/she can take the money from his/her TFSA tax-free account and then add it back in subsequent years.

This is a great opportunity for affluent families to plan RRSP and TFSA contributions on a multigenerational basis. Before a family considers this they must make sure and be confident that their retirement years and philanthropic plans are fully funded before they start giving their capital away. If so, you may want to consider this.

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Usually people begin to think about their savings and finances closer to the time of filing in April. The problem is that if you do not do the financial decisions before Jan of that year, than you lose the potential tax benefit for that year. For instance, if you wanted to create some tax savings for 2011 it had to be in that fiscal year – Jan. 1, 2011- Dec. 31, 2011.

Jamie Golombek, wrote an article on this topic and suggested 3 tax resolutions to think about:

1. Get Yourself Organized
It is too late for this year, but you can start to get yourself organized for 2012 tax year. If you are someone who throws things into a corner, misplaces receipts and other important tax info, now is the time to set up a filing system. Keep it simple and one that YOU can understand. You can do this physically as well as on-line: creating specific folders that you can put all things related to your tax info ( for example, charitable donations receipts).

If you use your part of your home for business, be sure to keep records, either paper or electronic, of bills for cell and home phone, electricity, heating, mortgage % of sq. footage, maintenance, property taxes and home insurance. As well, as any other expenses that are directly related to your business.

If you day-trade your own portfolio, make sure you track all buy/sell trade confirmation slips so you can properly calculate both the adjusted cost base of your investments when you come to sell them and accurately report your proceeds of disposition.

2. Plan Charitable Giving in Advance

Consider setting up charitable-donation budget for 2012 so you can give in the most tax-effective way possible by donating appreciated stock (wouldn’t that be a good position to be in!!) or mutual funds directly to charities. Not only do you receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the stock or funds donated, but you also eliminate any capital gains tax bill on the accrued gains.

An easy way to do this is to establish a donor-advised fund (DAF) through a public foundation and transfer the appreciated stock or mutual funds to the foundation at the beginning of the year. Then, as requests for donations come in during 2012, you can direct your DAF t write the cheques. You’ll get the tax break up-front and make the donation in the most tax-effective way possible by donating “in-kind” and eliminating a future capital gains tax liability.

3. Maximize Tax-Free/Deferred Savings

With a choice of 4 types of registered accounts to choose from, make sure that you are prioritizing the order of your tax-free or tax-deferred savings. You need to do what makes sense for your right now. Every person’s needs are different. The choice of 4 are the following:

RDSP – Registered Disability Savings Plan
RESP – Registered Education Savings Plan
TFSA – Tax-free Savings Account
RRSP – Registered Retirement Savings Plan

If you are saving for someone in the family who qualifies for the disability tax credit and is under 60 years of age, then the RDSP is the first priority. In Canada, not only can up to $200,000 of contributions grow tax-deferred, but the RDSP may be entitled to receive up to $3500 annually in Canada Disability Savings Grants (with a $70,000 lifetime maximum) and an additional $1000 annually in Canada Disability Savings Bonds (with a lifetime maximum of $20,000).

Next is to save for RESP or each minor child (under the age of 18) for post-secondary education. In Canada, by contributing at least $2500 for each child annually, you can take advantage of the 20% matching Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). If you have started a little late consider contributing $5000 per child per year and collect the annual maximum of $1000 CESG per child.

If you are not sure whether to save for your TFSA or RRSP, one advisor suggests that if you cannot do both than if you earn $53,000 or less, maximize your TFSA contribution first since you are in the lowest federal tax bracket and likely pay combined federal and provincial taxes at about 20%.

Chances are your marginal effective tax rate upon withdrawal will be higher, particularly if you have RRSP savings that, when withdrawn, could cause claw back of various income-tested government benefits and put you into a higher effective tax bracket.

For those outside of Canada, I suggest you sit down with a financial advisor and ask what tax savings and tax deferred programs are available to you that will benefit you when you file your taxes next year.

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Suggested – Time for an RHSP

Posted Thursday, December 15th, 2011. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | Leave a Comment

Every country has their issues and Canada has theirs. One issue that exists but no one wants to deal with is our health care system. David Dodge, former governor of the Bank of Canada, has told us that The Canadian universal health care model, with governments as the major funders of service, is fiscally unsustainable. Like all of the developed countries, we have an aging population. Dodge says that within 20 years, Canada could see health care spending rise to take up to 19% of the national economy. Today we sit at 12%.

Some has suggested an RHSP that would resemble a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Individuals would deposit funds in a registered account that could be withdrawn tax-free for healthcare expenses approved and listed as deductions in the Income Tax Act. The deductible expenses would be those not covered by provincial insurance – among them are dental care, prescription drugs, physiotherapy, prostate tests and dozen of routine procedures.

An RHSP would permit monies to be saved and invested on a limited, tax-free basis for health-care needs of families. RHSPs would help rectify the imbalance in health-care benefits between employees of large organizations, who typically have private health insurance, and employees of smaller ones, who typically do not and therefore use more of their paycheques on uninsured services and medical emergencies. An RHSP would also act as a supplement to the Canada Pension Plan or other pensions, since so much of retirees’ savings is needed to meet health related expenses as they age.

At first the RHSP may seem to cost the government because it shelters income. But the RHSPs could be used to absorb some new or increased costs, generate efficiencies in health care and give rise to the economic benefits of improved health. This will also give people more control over their choices and make them accountable and responsible for their health choices.

This may reduce the need for a two-tiered system (which I believe already happens). We can assist in making our system better by finally getting an E-health system up and running. This technological tool will make your information readily available when needed, reduce administrative burdens and provide better and most cost-effective care
for the patient.

It is said that the implementation of the RHSP would take simple amendments to the Income Tax Act. The terms on which taxation of deposits from income would be deferred or forgone would merely need to be set out. Medical expenses permitted as deductions are already listed in the tax act and could be used to define permitted expenses.

(This article that I summarized was written by Richard C. Owens, from the National Post).

Let’s see what happens. What governments and politicians have not realized is that small changes can bring about big results. This can be an example of such.

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Great site tip: Mint.com

Posted Friday, November 18th, 2011. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | Leave a Comment

The site mint.com is part of a larger U.S. company, Ituit Inc. and has found it’s way to Canada.

It is a free online personal financial management tool that lets users find the best money-saving deals from financial institutions, wether for savings accounts, credit cards, investments or insurance. Some of the larger banks are in their program however this site can also provide information on banks who choose not to be sponsors, but there are no links to the bank and the user must make an independent effort to reach them.

Check out the site and keep informed of your finanacial situation.

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Am I Financially Able to Retire?

Posted Friday, October 14th, 2011. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | Leave a Comment

There is a great article inthe Financial Post about retirement. Patricia Lovett-Reid author of the article is the senior vice-president at TD Waterhouse. She says that retirement will have to wait. She says that the dreams of full retirement for this new generation of baby boomers, is fading. Some do not have the means to do so and others are not quite ready for retirement.

There was a time when the kids grew up, moved out and the parents could focus on paying down their debt/mortgages during their peak earning years. One issue is that people are getting married later in life so their peak earning years are not coinciding the same way.

The other issue is that people are living longer and therefore require more money to live in the same lifestyle. They are often supporting an aging parent (sandwich generation) as well as their child. A Stats Canada 2009 Canadian Financial Capability Survey says one in three retired individuals aged 55 and over have some form of debt. The good news is that for more than half, the amount owing is less than $25,000.

So how can you put yourself in a good financial position? What choices can you make?

First off, and I have said this before — take care of your debt. This does not necessarily mean the largest dollar amount, rather, pay off the amount owing with the highest interet rate. This is often the credit card which carries an interest rate of approximately 19% (or more).

Second, if the interest yield or potential rate of return on an investment portfolio is less than the interest rate on the debt owed, it may make sense to sell your investments and pay down debt.

Third, get an idea of your spending habits as well as choose to spend less on discretionary items. I do not believe in sacrificing the essentials. The issue in Noth America is that we confuse the essentials with our needs and wants. You need to get a good idea of your cash flow position – are you spending more than you are earning?

Fourth, be patient. Some people want to upgrade their lifestyle. Only do this once you know you can handle any debt load.

Finally, you may want to choose to ease into retirement. When you have worked your whole like, stopping can present its own challenges. Men typically identify with their work so once they stop who are they? What is their role and purpose? Phasing in this step for financial and emotional/mental reasons may alleviate some of the stressors you may be feeling around the idea of retirement. Look into flexible work opportunities offered by your employer – job sharing or just switch to part-time status. Another option is become a consultant in your field of choice. Today with the pending job shortages in many fields (law, insurance to name a few) you are still in demand. You can therefore charge your worth and choose your hours.

While the days of past are no longer (yes everything does change), Boomers (who are the next group to retire in large numbers) can still spend their golden years with strong financial health by adapting their approach to spending and embracing a new view of what it means to retire.

Enjoy! Embrace! Live!

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Stop Blaming Others …

Posted Friday, October 7th, 2011. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | Leave a Comment

It is astounding to me to hear, “Obama is the worst President” Or “Everything is Obama’s fault”. The financial mess that we are seeing around the world has been the accumulation of years of bad choices and actions.

Like cancer, this does not happen overnight. Rather, disease is the breakdown of our cells, free radical damage, that ultimately leads to health issues.

I often talk about accountability and responsibility. This is true as much at the individual level as it is at the provincial/state or country level. When I look at the U.S. I find that NO ONE, not the people, not the politicians, not the government want to take their responsibility in contributing to the financial meltdown. There is not a leader in the world that can likely do any better than Barack Obama for the systems are so entrenched and EGOs will not budge.

I was thinking of past Presidents, going back to Ronald Reagan and the Presidents that followed (George H.W. Bush, William (Bill) Clinton, George W. Bush) until the current leadership, Barack Obama. This covers 32+ years of leadership. When you look at the economy yes you see years of abundance. The truth is that it is the wealthiest people of the U.S. that reaped the greatest financial benefit vs. the middle and lower class. The US grew strong and powerful however on what systems? And are these systems sustainable? The answer is NO. The systems that allowed the US to flourish were based on greed, manipulation and what’s in it for me. The illusion of the American Dream became the achievable but at any cost and expense. It worked when people had jobs, were earning money and credit – easy credit – was available. Then in Sept. 2008 the crash hit that impacted not just the middle and lower class but the upper class as well. This coupled with the unbelievable ponzi scheme of Madoff left many people in a precarious financil position. Of course you have the mortgage crisis and then there is Wall Street who played it’s part along with the Federal Reserve (were they not sleeping together?).

If each party took their responsibility and accoutability and stoped blaming others and pointing fingers than perhaps the US has a chance to come out of this mess. I find it amazing that people, in a grave time of need, cannot put their egos and differences aside and think about the greater good for ALL the people of the US. The wealthy don’t want to pay taxes, the young are underemployed and pissed off, the Democrats and Republicans remain at odds, and of course there is the TEA party. So what to do?

I strongly suggest that you do what your government and WALL street cannot – live within your means. Stop spending and begin to cut back on anything frivilous. You will see that some of the things that you need to cut out of your lives are really not that important on a daily basis and you can live with on a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly basis. Rediscover dinner parties. Stay local and explore your own city – be a tourist. You will definitely find out that you do not know as much as you think about your own backyard!

It is time to lead by example. We have created systems that must fall and then we can begin to rebuild. The problem arises when you rebuild on the “old paradigms”. We need to break a cycle that we have created over the last 15+ years – immediate consumption. I realize it is baby steps. However, we must begin somewhere.

Be financially responsible. You can start at any time you choose.

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Coming Storm for Baby Boomers

Posted Friday, August 26th, 2011. Filed Under Financial Empowerment | 1 Comment

This comes from an article I found in the National Post, July 16, 2011, written by Jonathan Chevreau.

The author writes that the first wave of baby boomers will hit age 65 this year. They face what has been called the 3-D hurricane of demographics, debt and deficit.

The stats are there: by 2025 there will be 10 new retirees for each new entrant to the workforce, twice what the ratio was in 1970.

A recent poll by Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce found only half of Canadian Boomers aged 45 to 64 have regular savings programs in place. And a TD Waterhouse survey found 31% of retirees aged 55 to 70 are spending more than expected.

For those that didn’t save nor have the old-fashioned employer-provided defined benefit pensions will likely continue working until age 65 and some until 70, since waiting the extra 5 years, will find annual benefit paid out by Canadian Pension Plan will be 42% higher.

One option by some Canadians is a new practice called, “workampers”. That’s a contraction of “work camping”, which refers to an increasingly popular practice whereby the Baby Boomers sell their principal residences and hit the road, often in recreational vehicles. Couples or families travel across North America and work a few days or weeks at or near minimum wage and/or exchange their labour for accommodation or a place to park their RV’s.

For Workampers, home is where the RV is and the RV is parked wherever they can generate short-term cash.

Perhaps these boomers are reverting back to a time when they were carefree and lived in communes or rainbow- coloured minibuses in the 1960s.

Our government is well aware of the Boomer crunch coming. In a paper entitled: Canadian Pension Security, Adequacy and Coverage: Public Policy Challenges and the Baby Boomer GenerationThe term 3-D hurricane of demographics, debt and deficit was coined by Research Affiliates’ chief investment officer, Jason Hsu. He says, the ‘new normal’ is an extended period of lower economic return expectations for the aging and debt-ridden developed world.

Unfortunately the boomers needed to anticipate these untenable support ratios looming in their old age and saved aggressively in their working years be delaying pre-retirement consumption. But what we see differs, what we observe today is inadequate retirement savings.

Serious problems arise when countries have become so indebted that they are unable to raise debt to bail out retirees who have, by and large, undersaved, says Mr. Hsu.

In Canada versus the U.S., the Canadian Pension Plan is relatively strong and both the Liberal and NDP want to expand it. The Conservatives are not as committed to a “big CPP” beyond a modest enhancement of the system.

The feeling by some specialists is that once the interest rate moves back to their historical levels, Canadians will be able to save more, borrow less, and buy annuities with much better pay outs.

For the self-employed and workers in small businesses they made need more help setting up employer pensions resembling those enjoyed by employees in large corporations and government.

The Conservatives prefer a private-sector, market-oriented defined-contribution pension model that will be managed by the nation’s banks, fund companies and insurance companies. It’s called pooled retirement pension plan, or PRPP.

If this is the case, we as Canadians, and in particular, the Baby Boomers, need to make sure that those chosen to manage DO NOT charge their exorbitant fees. That makes me angry!

If you are about to retire you really need to sit down and see where you are at. If the Conservatives put this plan into place we will see how it impacts the Baby Boomers. In the meantime… prepare, keep on working if you need to and make smart, educated decisions.

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